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Orchestrating Change Named 2021 Austen Riggs Erikson Prize Recipient

Aaron M. Beatty, MA|
July 27, 2021
Stockbridge, MA–July 27, 2021–The Austen Riggs Center is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2021 Austen Riggs Erikson Prize for Excellence in Mental Health Media: Executive Producers/Directors Margie Friedman and Barbara Multer-Wellin for their documentary Orchestrating Change, a film about Me2/Orchestra the world’s only orchestra created by and for people living with mental illness and those who support them.
Austen Riggs Center Medical Director/CEO Eric M. Plakun, MD, stated, “Orchestrating Change is a remarkable film that fights stigma by showing people struggling with mental and substance use disorders as, above all, quite simply human, with areas of competence in addition to areas of struggle and challenge. The film demonstrates the value of relationships and of belonging to a community as part of achieving resilience.”
Friedman remarked, “We are honored to receive the Erikson Prize. Me2/Orchestra's mission is to defeat mental health stigma. They have created a transformative organizational model that erases stigma through inclusion and compassion." Multer-Wellin added, "We share their mission and hope the film challenges audiences to reconsider preconceived notions of what it means to live with a mental illness and provokes much-needed dialogue.”
The Austen Riggs Center will hold a virtual event later this year to honor the 2021 prize recipients. For more information about the film, visit:
Past recipients of the prize have included Alison Bechdel, Kiese Laymon, Neal Shusterman, Andrew Solomon, the Boston Globe Spotlight Team, NPR’s Hidden Brain, and many others.
About the Prize
The Austen Riggs Erikson Prize for Excellence in Mental Health Media recognizes a select group of media professionals, including journalists, writers, and others who create exemplary work that contributes to a deeper understanding of and greater public awareness about mental health issues and carries an award of $3,000.
About the Austen Riggs Center
The Riggs Center is a leading psychiatric hospital and residential treatment program that has been serving adults since its founding in 1919. Within an open setting, patients participate in an intensive treatment milieu that emphasizes respectful engagement. Individual psychodynamic psychotherapy is provided four times a week by doctors on staff. The Erikson Institute for Education, Research, and Advocacy of the Austen Riggs Center studies individuals in their social contexts through research, training, education, and outreach programs in the local community and beyond. For more information, visit

John Zollinger
Austen Riggs Center
Director of Communications
Aaron Beatty
Austen Riggs Center
Communications Officer